Belfast Telegraph

Hodgson - I'm a very good manager but I'm no boaster

Roy Hodgson has defended his record in management after revealing he has already tried and failed to retire.

The Crystal Palace manager has rebuilt his reputation by inspiring a team that were near-certainties for relegation when he was appointed in September to only one defeat in their past 11 games.

That they are in contention for a mid-table finish and he has been nominated for December's manager of the month award represents a remarkable transformation for Hodgson, coming after the disappointing conclusion to his time with England.

His promising team were eliminated from Euro 2016 by Iceland after he had overseen two qualification campaigns without defeat, blooding numerous young players - but even after that disappointment he felt the urge to return to work.

"Just because I don't boast of my achievements doesn't mean I have ever thought anything other than I am a very good football manager," said the 70-year-old, whose team visit Brighton in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday.

"Whether Palace win or lose, at the end of my time at Crystal Palace, I will still be thinking 'I am a very good football manager'. I know it: I see it every day.

"I've been working for 41 years: I've got so many titles. I've been manager of the year, I've got goodness knows how many manager of the month awards. I've had a 100-odd games for national teams and 150 in European competitions.

"There have been moments when we (Hodgson and wife Sheila) have discussed retirement, mainly on the basis that she's made a lot of sacrifices to do the thing that I want to do, namely football management.

"It's given us both an extremely good life and we're both grateful for that. There have been moments when we've thought, 'Is this the moment to do something else?'. Well, we tried that for a year, and she came to the conclusion that she better let me back in for a little bit longer."

Hodgson was widely criticised for England's early departures from Euro 2016 and the 2014 World Cup, but he retains pride in the long-term job he oversaw.

"I don't think that after leaving England I was absolutely ready to turn my back on it," he added.

Hodgson is expected to name a weakened XI at Brighton, owing to Palace's busy schedule and injuries to Scott Dann, Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon, Mamadou Sakho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

"Coming here and enjoying the work with the players has proven that.

"I've got enough in my life and enough respect for my family to only carry on if I feel I've got something to offer, that it is giving me something, that it is not divorcing me from my family.

"After England, I didn't think I've got something to prove. I was bitterly disappointed that we lost a vital game but I have a totally different attitude."

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